Social Sciences and Humanity Studies Academic Blog

Book Review: The old man and the sea

Posted in book review by Shekhar on December 24, 2008


The story is about the old man and his relationship with the sea if we talk about the basic analysis but what I learned is far more than that even I imagined being a fisherman.

It might be quite hard to join our hand and mouth by fishing but fishing is something more than just earning bread .fishing bring us so close to the nature and teach us the knowledge of nature. What we think the strongest thing in the world is nature and nature is our mother. The nature feed us and gives us shelter and basic need. But after reading the story I realized something is wrong with our action toward our own mother i.e. nature. We are 24 hrs with nature but there is some kind of misunderstanding between us and the mature. We claim ourselves to be the most developed living thing in the nature and ignore the life of other living bei ng but we forget our origin and our dependency on the same nature. The old fisher man Santiago doesn’t regret for the fish he lost on the way to returning but he felt proud himself for winning the battle with his courage, confidence and belief that tomorrow will be better for him if he thinks that he is better at the moment.

Mr. Hemingway’s short novel describing in agonizing detail the struggle of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman, to land a giant marlin precisely captures the complex relationships between fishermen, the fish they catch, and the sea that is such an important part of their lives.

The only things that matter in this novel are the old man, the sea, the fish, the young boy, baseball and the on-going quest for man to live within and alongside nature with integrity, and with that most fundamental of themes: courage in the face of loss. Of course now he’s old. His skin is leathery, his liver-spotted face is cancerous and his back is bent. Worse still he is deemed in the village to have become “salao”. It means unlucky, but more so. The young boy that he taught to fish, and mentored through his early fishing years has been made to work with other fishermen by his parents. The old man isn’t bitter, he can understand that. Still, he misses the young boy when he’s out on his boat. On his own. He loves that boy and that boy loves him

The story is told with incredible economy of words and description, yet nothing is sacrificed which drives home the power and inner strength of this man, who just takes it as what he does, what it is to be a serious fisherman. Here is a side tale as well. This great individual, the man who stands alone, is not alone completely by choice. He has developed a friendship, a working relationship, a love with a young boy who began fishing with him when the boy was only five. Now the boy has moved on to another boat, a more successful one, at his parents’ behest, but he pines to work with Santiago, and when the battle with the great fish has been engaged, Santiago pleads over and over and over: “I wish the boy were here.”

A life far removed from harsh confrontations with nature. But Hemingway forces me to remember and acknowledge the individual, the struggle for the most basic existence, the battle with nature for survival itself. But most importantly he makes one acknowledge the importance of the individual and the magnificence of courage, skill, art and endurance.

What I think is the story is trying to develop the sense of understanding towards the nature and its strength .if we understand it and feel it gratefulness through the act of it creation then “Nature is something more than what we see around us”

By Shekhar kc

BMS 2nd year

Roll no:9


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